The Weekly Advocate

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Legislative Action
From the Minnesota Legislature's Website

End of 90th Session

By state constitution, the last day the Legislature may meet in 2017 is May 22.
For constitutional provisions concerning the length of session and special sessions, see Minnesota Constitution, Article IV

Runs, Resources and Side-by-Sides
Monday Legislative Briefing
May 17, 2017 - Week 20.5
 Legislative Alerts from the GR Team
Teacher Licensure Reform Bill
Ask Governor Dayton to Sign It - H.F. 140!
Taking a big step forward, the House and Senate both voted to pass H.F. 140. It is a bi-partisan bill that will fix the state's broken teacher licensure system. The House passed 76-54 and the Senate passed 36-31.

MSBA needs you to contact Governor Dayton today and ask him to sign this bill into law. When contacting the Governor's office, here are some talking points: 
  • H.F. 140 is the solution to a "broken system", as reported by the Office of Legislative Auditor's report last year.
  • The teacher licensure reform bill, has been thoroughly vetted with over one year of work study groups, 45 iterations, 25 meetings and more than 1000 hours of discussions. All with very little opposition, until the 11th hour.
  • It is a bi-partisan bill.
  • The Teacher licensing system should be consolidated in one entity, namely the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board as recommended by the Conference Committee Report.
  • It is NOT an unfunded mandate. There is almost $3.5 million in the Education Finance bill; a very deliberate decision.
  • The bill is NOT a "fix" to the teacher shortage issue, but rather a small step to provide districts help with teacher shortage issues.
  • Teacher licensing should be simplified and streamlined into a 4-tier system as proposed by the Office of Legislative Auditor and the Legislative Study Group on Teacher Licensure.
  • Districts need more flexibility to hire qualified candidates in hard to fill areas such as CTE or other content areas.
Please tell Governor Dayton how the flexibility and simplicity of a new tiered-licensure system would impact your district and what it means for student opportunities.
This is a bipartisan bill to fix the state's "broken teacher licensure system", in a non-partisan way. 
More Vetoes -  More Negotiations
Governor Dayton vetoed five more bills Monday evening. One of the bills vetoed was the tax bill, making good on his promise to veto any bill that contained vouchers or tax credits for education.
MSBA has been following the bill closely because it includes:
  • Election Ballot Language
  • Agriculture Credit
  • Tax Credits for Private Education
In his veto letter, he stated,"This bill prioritizes unsustainable tax cuts now and into the future over investments in prekindergarten, higher education
and economic development that will grow opportunities for hard working Minnesotans in our state."

As of 6:33 p.m. Tuesday evening, there was movement on budget targets between the Governor and House and Senate leadership. Dayton moved his tax credit target from $300 to $400 million. Daudt and Gazelka offered to lower tax cuts from $1.1 billion to $875 million.

Most important to school districts, House and Senate leadership also offered to increase the education target by $100 million to land on $408 million.
Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) 
Tuesday, the House State Government Finance Committee passed a pension bill sending it to the House Ways and Means Committee. Before passing the bill, an amendment was offered and passed by Rep. Sarah Anderson, who followed the Senate's lead deleting provisions related to the Teachers Retirement Association. Laurie Hacking, executive director of TRA, indicated she hoped the provisions would be reinstated.

MSBA believes TRA should be part of the overall solution to pensions and the state budget. A delay in fixing the issue will cause bigger deficits next year. We feel strongly, regardless of what the final bill looks like, state funding must cover the increased costs for school districts otherwise any increase to the education is consumed by unpaid pension costs.   

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